Brotherly hugs

April 13, 2007

A question for you men out there with brothers. With whom you are on speaking terms. Who you meet occasionally. And like.

What sign of recognition or affection do you give upon meeting? I have three brothers, let us call them BishBro1, 3 and 4; BishBro1 is the eldest, yours truly is BishBro2, and BishBros3 and 4 are younger. We’ve never been what you might call touchy-feely and indeed until I met my friend Steve many years ago it would never have occurred to me to hug another man, yet now I have a sort of mild yearning to have some contact when we get together. But what should it be?

A handshake comes naturally when meeting colleagues, business acquaintances and friends, but seems a little stiff when dealing with one’s own flesh and blood. A pat on the shoulder then? A touch on the arm? A hearty clap on the back? Perhaps.

It does seem to me that when all is said and done a quick, manly hug would be best, if somewhat European. However, this is an art that needs practice and cooperation; one cannot do it to someone unsuspecting as an awkward little dance tends to result while both try to work out where their arms should be and whether chins should go over the left or right shoulder. Done well it is an affectionate and familiar gesture, but done badly all is embarassment.

Given that we have not been used to this, how should the subject be broached to the brethren? Should I put a message in their Christmas cards: “Be warned that beginning the next time we meet I shall greet you with a hug and would be pleased if you would respond in kind. Chins over right shoulder please.” Or perhaps a family party after a glass of two of Pimms: “I love you, I do. You’re my best mate.”

Mmm. The strategy needs work, but I think the principle is sound enough. Note to self: If possible, maintain a hugging attitude toward the MiniBishes throughout life, that they may take the principle with them and never feel awkward about it.

I struggle to recall a time when BishDad and I had such contact and sadly I can’t really think of many occasions, though I think we got slightly better as we went on. Too late to do much about it now of course, except to learn the lesson and try to pass it on to the next generation. So go on, hug a family member today!

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3 Responses to “Brotherly hugs”

  1. steve Says:

    Ah, how very true. As someone with a brother who’s seven years older than me we’ve never gone further than a manly shake of the hand since time out of mind. Although I must say I’ve sensed a similar desire in him to have a quick hug after a lengthy time apart. It’s just not really me though so it hasn’t happened.

    I do have a 22 year old son and we do still hug so yes, keep hugging the little’uns and you may well foster a love of hugging in them that lasts for life.

  2. KiminlawBish Says:

    Hi Bob,
    Lifes too short, just do it! Anyway you can always hug me instead?

  3. Red Five Says:

    There’s nothing wrong with a hug, is there BishBro2?

    I shall initiate one upon our next meeting, so be warned…


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